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pontoontodd last won the day on September 4

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About pontoontodd

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    1000+ Super USER!

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Loves Park, IL
  • Referral
    search engine, lifted subarus and other mods
  • Biography
    Mechanical engineer, off road racer, trail ride and pre run with Subarus.
  • Vehicles
    1999 Legacy Outback, 1996 Impreza

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  1. B recently bought a tubing bender and some dies. He's wanted a round tube bumper for a while. We did a couple test bends with EMT (conduit) last weekend. Got the fit he wanted and figured out the bender. Conduit is much cheaper and easier to bend than 4130. So we bent a couple tubes and B fit the long tubes for mounting to the car. We fit some short tubes and tacked it all together on the floor square. Put it on the car against some mounting plates we'd made, leveled it out, tacked it together. Marked the ends to cut for tire clearance. Took it off the car and mitered the ends. Welded receivers to the mounting plates for better connection and winch and jacking options. He also added some lateral support for the ends. I welded as much as I could with it on the car and then finished welding off the car. Still need to add hoops for the stock lights and more tabs for light bar(s). Then get it coated. We also turned some parts for more long travel struts. Upgrading B's and making new sets for slammo and Z.
  2. Yeah I was a little surprised. We did get a little video I’ll probably post on YouTube eventually. I think they have about 50% more travel than our cars. Our friend who owns the rzr has ridden in my Outback and says it rides about as good as his rzr. The rzr is definitely much easier to roll over though!
  3. We were at our friend's place just outside of town testing the suspension on the black 99 Outback after putting in some different valving. Think it's better, need to review the video. For sure there are two jumps that if you hit going away from the road at the right speed, you can land on the ramp of the second one and bounce off it and get pretty good air. When I did that a month ago it landed really hard. This time it soaked it up much better when landing flat. May not have bounced as high, either way that seems like an improvement. So while we're getting video our friend runs over and comes flying back in his RZR (?2013 XP1000). By this time I'd stopped so we watched him make a few laps. He was hitting the jumps and whoops about as hard as I was. It might take the whoops better than my car but I think my car took the jumps more level. I followed him in the Outback. I was able to hit the jumps and turns about as fast as him but the golf cart definitely accelerates harder. Then he started weaving between the various jump ramps. I was able to almost keep up through there but I his shorter wheelbase and better power to weight allowed him to get through faster. We did some more test fitting of the 6MT low range and came up with a plan to proceed. Did some test bends with B's bender, works pretty nice. Bent up a front bumper template out of some conduit. Will probably fab up a real one out of 4130 next weekend.
  4. Apparently. I was hoping since it was a low mileage jdm engine it would be good. Also it’s quite a job to replace head gaskets on these engines.
  5. Yes, two speed. Maybe I could plug in a spare temp sensor and heat it up or just short the wiring to see if the fans run on high. Or unplug the fans and check voltage once it gets hot, make sure both sets of windings on both fans are getting power. Before we replaced the engine the last time (a year or two ago?) it was just running uncontrollably hot on the highway on one trip though, so I don't think that was fan related.
  6. Put in a new Denso radiator last summer. When we had it out it looked pretty clean, I think one of my friends blasted it out with the garden hose but I don't think it even looked like it needed that. Put in a new thermostat and radiator cap from Subaru when we put the JDM engine in. Both fans run when it's hot.
  7. Well predictably I guess the JDM EZ30 we put in my 2002 OB seems to have a slightly head gasket leak. It runs a little above the middle of the temp gauge when it's under load for a little while. It does drop back down to the middle without turning the AC off or anything but it's only been in the 80s(F) and this is just driving around town. Seems fine on the highway but off pavement is usually a higher duty cycle with lower airspeed. So I'm considering replacing the head gaskets on it. On the plus side it should be low mileage so maybe then it would last many years??? Open to any suggestions on what else I could check. The check engine light was on for a few days but isn't on any more. It's been running fine. It NEVER ran above the middle for the last three or four years, so it's definitely not normal. We did some work on B's Forester. It definitely had a slight head gasket leak on our trip out west. We took out the engine and he'd prepped a cleaner intake manifold with some new gaskets. The heads and block seemed flat and everything looked good so we just cleaned the surfaces and replaced the head and valve cover gaskets. We adjusted the valves too while it was out. One of the CV axles had started to click so we replaced that. Also put in a new clutch while it was out, the old one seemed fine but hopefully the engine and trans will stay in the car for a few years now. We got done early so we replaced all his brake pads and he cleaned up the ridges on the front rotors and we rotated the tires. 99 OB has popped out of reverse a few times now. Trying to mock up and finish the low range for the 6MT so I can just swap in a different trans and not have it out of the car multiple times or for a long period of time.
  8. One of the tires on the 99 OB after our last trip. Back to our regularly scheduled head gasket issues. This is a Subaru forum after all. The 2002 has been running hot occasionally and bubbling like crazy in the overflow reservoir, blew out a little coolant hose behind the PS pump a while back, so head gaskets are almost definitely bad. Also often hesitates/stumbles/misfires for the first half second you stomp on the gas, which is especially annoying with an engine without much low end torque to begin with. After considering various options I decided to replace the engine in my 2002 Outback with a low mileage Japanese engine. I know they power wash them but this might be the cleanest EZ30 I've ever seen, on par with the one in my 2001. Maybe they blasted it with solvent but the oil fill neck is probably the cleanest one (only clean one?) I've ever seen. Before we put it in, we replaced some coolant hoses, oil cooler gasket, the spark plugs, and valve cover gaskets. Glad I replaced the spark plugs. This one appears to have corroded in half. One mistake we made last year when putting the engine and trans in together from the parts car was not loosening, anti seizing, and retightening the bellhousing bolts. Took a long time to get those all out since we were just pulling the engine this time. Fortunately the torque converter bolts were pretty easy. Fortunately the JDM and USDM EZ30 are nearly identical. The AC compressor is different but I left that connected to the car. The vacuum fitting for the brake booster is on the wrong side of the intake manifold. There is a plug on the driver's side. I couldn't get it loose with tools so I welded a steel bar to it and then snapped the end of the plug off. So we just ran a longer vacuum hose to the booster. 2/3 of the EZ30s I own. 3/4 of these have head gasket leaks, well hopefully just 3/4. Fired right up and seems to run well, no obvious leaks. Hesitation/stumble mostly gone. Hopefully this one lasts more than a year.
  9. Last weekend B and I did a little shock tuning, changed the oil and filter, installed a different TPMS, and replaced a tie rod on the 99. Also test assembled the low range for the 6MT. So far so good but still a ways to go. That will really make my 99 a lot more usable.
  10. A, B, and Z met at my house and we headed west a few weeks ago with my 99 Outback and B's Forester. Drove past grasslands in South Dakota but didn't check them out, should on another trip. Tried some short side roads/trails near Badlands NP. Z wanted to camp along this ridge with 100 other RVs. We didn't go in Badlands as it's fairly expensive so we went to the black hills in SW South Dakota. Z found a campground on the ultimate campground app and used the google directions which sent us down a rough, rocky, narrow trail. Sections of it were high exposure along a narrow ledge. As we got closer to the campground the trail became steep downhill. We considered turning around but we were getting close to a major (gravel) road. The trail was quite rough, rocky, and washed out and it was dark. We got to a large tree blocking the trail and decided to camp there for the night. We cooked food, setup camp, and joked (?) about how we'd have all week to get out one way or another. The next morning we took a closer look at the large fallen tree. We probably could have cut more branches off of it and gotten underneath with some digging. There were a couple more fallen trees we would have had to deal with but they weren't as bad. We walked up the hill and decided that would be the way to try to get out. We sent B first figuring he could pull me up the more difficult obstacles. We had to stack some rocks for him in a couple spots. I then drove the Outback up the whole way nonstop, poking a small hole in a sidewall in the process. I plugged it but it kept leaking slowly so we just swapped it out later. We drove around the black hills. Then we headed to the Bighorn mountains in WY. Spent a couple days camping and driving around there – awesome scenery, decent trails with some small jumps, not a lot of dead ends. This was a good few days of trail riding with varied scenery from wooded mountains to Utah like deserts. Drove through western WY almost to Yellowstone and then north into Montana. This part of Montana basically had a bunch of dead end roads heading south off 90 into the mountains north of Yellowstone. We took one of them and camped at a small campground along a river. We headed farther south the next morning. Stopped at natural bridge falls which was awesome, would be good to see in the spring. From there the road turns to gravel and gets gradually rougher/rockier and passes a bunch of ranches. Eventually it turns into a consistently rocky road with some climbs. Saw some old mining cabins. At Independence Z walked ahead while we were stacking rocks and saw a no motorized vehicles sign so we turned around. Would be interesting sometime to take the trail to Independence/Blue Lake. This was the roughest ~5-10 miles of trail we've probably ever driven. On the way back out one of B's castle nuts fell off a ball joint, the threads on the stud were wiped out. We swapped it out and continued. Drove back up to 90 and decided to head back east. Considered heading farther west into Montana and Idaho but would have had 2-3 days of solid highway driving at the end if we'd done that. We headed back down towards the Bighorns. We stayed at a campground along a little stream with no one else in it. The next morning we drove to the ice cave which is ~32F year round despite recent weather in the 90s. There are apparently ice stalagmites and stalactites at times but none of any significant size when we were there. The parking lot has a picnic area with great views. We trail rode through this northern part of the Bighorns and eventually got to the Pryor mountain area which had one of the best views of the trip. Then we drove through a BLM wild horse area and saw at least a half dozen groups of them. At one point we stopped to tighten some suspension bolts and make sandwiches and at least two groups of wild horses walked by within 30' of us. We eventually got to a sign which said “4x4 high clearance short wheelbase vehicles only” pointing in the direction of the trail we'd just come out. Drove some more trails in Wyoming and went to Black Mountain. Views from the top were awesome despite the smoke. Drove back down and found a campsite along a gravel road to stay the night. In the morning a mother and fawn mule deer walked through our site and some medium sized black and white birds were almost eating out of B's hand. At this point we only had about 1.5 days to get back to my house so Z and A could get home at a reasonable hour so we mostly drove on the highway but we did cut through the Black Hills again. We went to Mount Roosevelt which is an easy walk with a lookout tower you can walk to the top of with a decent view. On the way there we'd seen some side trails. One of them went to Deadwood on my GPS so we decided to see if that would go through. It did but the last half mile or so was quite steep downhill with loose rocks. From there we drove home on the highway, stopped to camp at a big campground in MN which was fortunately pretty quiet. Overall a good trip, the heat and smoke put a bit of a damper on things but we had no major mechanical problems, good scenery, saw some wildlife, and drove a lot of trails. For some reason we didn't have the problems with low speed climbing in the 99 we were having in southern IL. I think it must have just been getting heat soaked there with the constant stopping and idling. Also had to use the start button quite often on the last trip, I'm guessing the ignition switch or the wiring to it is failing.
  11. I already have an EZ30 in the 99. Not sure if the EZ36 would be better on gas but probably more reliable because it would be newer and should be more power and low end torque. We've got the 90s five spoke 15" Legacy/Outback alloy wheels on most of our cars. They seem to last a long time as long as you're not running them on flat tires. The six spoke "bottle cap" wheels are supposedly stronger. B has been using thick (~0.2" thick) steel wheels on his Forester. They're about as strong but much heavier. One of the big advantage of the aftermarket 15" wheels is that you can fit bigger brakes, like the ones on the turbo cars and 2000+ Outback.
  12. Not all that sano but it works. Had to use the starter button and the ignition key simultaneously to start it once today. Would really like to fix that problem but don't know what else to try. I can't see using the electric jacks on another car. They are very convenient but as you say they're pretty heavy. Also you basically have to have some kind of cage to mount them to and definitely makes the car a two seater.
  13. Hot not starting problem still continues, have now tried different battery cables, two batteries, and three starters, one with new solenoid contacts. Logically it should be the wiring to or from the ignition key switch causing the problem. Decided to wire a starter pushbutton in parallel with the key switch. Also don't think I ever posted pictures of the switch and resistors Z wired in to lock the 6MT center diff. Two 5 ohm resistors in parallel, the pair is wired in series with the center diff. The center diff measures about 1.8 ohms of resistance but the accuracy of the ohmmeter at that low resistance is fairly poor. Also there's impedance from induction, ask Z, but we think it should cut the voltage about in half. Resistors have thermal paste to the back of the switch panel, it gets quite hot when the diff is on. Really just a temporary solution while I work on the locking low range center diff. Switch on the left is to control the HVAC vents. One time today it wouldn't restart with the key after sitting for about ten minutes but did start with the button. I think it sounds a little different with the button than the key but not sure. Also realized I could use both key and button for minimum resistance. One of many reasons slammo is probably right that I should swap the drivetrain and suspension into a first gen Impreza and retire this car.
  14. Yeah, I have seen those and been tempted to do that. Either way a standalone would probably be the way to go. Forced induction is technically not legal in BITD in most classes but I don't think they care if we enter Sportsman. Not sure where I'd put the blower either, my big air filter takes up a lot of space. Guess I figured the EZ36 would be a simpler, more reliable way to make more low end torque especially if either one requires a standalone and some wiring.
  15. Steering rack was leaking badly while trail riding on the last trip so I swapped it out with a fresh one. While it was out I seam welded the front crossmember and found a few small cracks to weld. Much CV grease was burned off the top. The rack had slightly damaged threads on one of the fittings so it took a long time to get that hooked up. Lesson there is to test fit the lines before putting the rack in the car. Also the center of the travel without the tie rods is NOT the same as the center of travel with the tie rods installed so we had to reclock the steering shaft after it was all assembled. Hot non starting problems have continued so B put some different battery cables in the car. If anything it's worse now. I'm going to try a different battery next. Jump starting often helps, and this battery has been run down countless times when I've left the doors open to air it out. We also weighed the car again, it's been six years or so. Pretty sure when we weighed it before it still had the four cylinder and definitely no cage, probably no steel bumpers and fuel cell. Back then with 3/8 tank of gas it weighed 3518# unloaded, 3903# loaded. This time it was 4152# with a spare tire and full tank of gas but basically no cargo. The cargo we had in the car weighed a total of 421# so loaded the car was 4573#. We also normally carry food, more water, camping gear, clothes, etc so with that and two people in it, it's definitely over 5000# loaded. Gotta get a first gen Impreza to swap this suspension and drivetrain into. Also getting very tempted to swap in an EZ36 over the winter. Seems like the best option is a Haltech 2500 but I would like to hear other ideas. Have considered a supercharger but don't know how I'd fit it under the hood. It's got good power over 2-3000RPM but under that it's bad. Basically looking for more low end torque and an engine option that's less than 15 years old, it's getting almost impossible to find good EZ30s now. The head gaskets in my 2002 OB are starting to leak, we just put that engine (with unknown miles on it) in the car least year. Thought is after/while swapping an EZ36 in the 99 we could swap this EZ30 in the 2002 since it has fresh head gaskets. Trying to keep the 99 going so we can run the Vegas to Reno (and maybe some other desert races) next year.